Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Visit To Kandy

Our group at Kandy (photo credit: Chathura)
The end of last year was an interesting time period due to the ICTer 2014 conference and its related events. After the conference, there was an official tour organized by University of Colombo School of Computing for some of the international participants of the conference such as Invited speakers and international paper authors. Even though I got to know many people during the conference at BMICH, still there were some people whom I couldn't get to know. This tour was the time  for that.

(photo credit: Chathura)
We started the journey from Colombo in the early morning of 14th Sunday, December 2014. We went in the university van and the only three Sri Lankans we had in the van are our driver, me and Chathura Suduwella. Chathura brought a very good camera which provided lot of nice photos for our memory. Our foreign members of the tour consisted of Dr. Alan S. Weber from an American collange in Qatar, Mr. Chala Tesgera, an Ethiopian  student in Germany, Dr. Paul Cunningham from Ireland, Dr. Enric Mor, Dr. Antonia Huertas and another professor from Spain. In addition to the van, Mr. Herath who is the conference coordinator came with us by his car together with his family. We picked all the foreign participants of the journey from the hotels where they were staying and headed to Kandy.

(photo credit: Chathura)
Our first destination of the journey was Pinnawala elephant orphanage which is situated along the way to Kandy. This place is the home for elephants who have faced different troubles and unable to live on their own in the jungle. It includes  baby elephants who have lost their mothers and grown-up elephants who have got injured due to human activities.  We had our breakfast from a restaurant while watching elephants having a bath in the river next to the orphanage. The restaurant had a balcony from which we had a clear view of the elephants. A lot of foreign tourists were present in this restaurant to see elephants having bath. If we came a little early to this place, we could have watched how they feed baby elephants in the morning.

(photo credit: Chathura)
After the elephant orphanage, we reached Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic) in Kandy. Since it is the most sacred place of Buddhists, I was so glad that we came there. My fiancé messaged me that I should present a bunch of Jasmine flowers to the temple. So, I bought some Jasmine from a little flower boutique in front of the temple. Inside the premises of the temple, there were various other places to visit and see. Those places includes a museum for the Raja tusker, a palace of an old king, and world buddhist museum sponsored by India. After walking along the premises for a long time, we got together to discuss where we should move next. We had two choices. Either we should go for lunch or go for another sight seeing before the lunch. Since it was getting delayed, we decided to go for lunch. On our way to a restaurant for lunch, we went through University of Peradeniya to see its beautiful environment.

(photo credit: Chathura)
We had our lunch somewhere near Kandy in a buffet restaurant. This meal was a really good one and I ate as much as I wanted. After the lunch we wanted to visit Embekka Devalaya. However unfortunately it was not that easy because we didn't know the correct way to reach there. Additionally, we faced lot of traffic jams in the middle of the journey forcing us to go though different unfamiliar shortcuts. We had to rely on Google maps and  GPS to get us to the Embekka Devalaya. It was not a big place but it is famous for ancient wood carvings it has. We spent a short while in this place and an old person in this place took us a walk through describing various important things about the place. I've  read and heard about Embekka Devalaya from my childhood but this was the first time I visited to see the real thing.

Chathura, my research colleague.
After seeing Embekka devalaya, we again went to Kandy city since Dr. Cunningham was going to stay in Queens hotel without returning to Colombo. So, we went there and dropped him at Queens Hotel. Finally we started to return back to Colombo. We had a quick dinner in a place around Ambepussa and started to move again. The reason we had to hurry was Mr. Chala. He was leaving in a flight at that night and therefore we were supposed to drop him at the airport directly. So, when returning to Colombo, we directly went to Katunayake international airport and said good bye to Mr. Chala. Then we dropped the remaining members at their relevant hotels around Colombo city area.

Throughout the journey, Chathura and me sat in the front seats of the van and talked about various things. Since the journey was several hours long to each side, we had enough time to talk so many things. Time to time, we turned back and talked few words to our foreign tour partners. I hope they enjoyed this journey just like we did. I learned a new thing about Spain during this journey. Spanish is not the only language they have in Spain. They have a language called Catalan which is spoken by a significant number of people in Spain. It is not a dialect of Spanish but a completely different language.


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